I have observed with consternation the flippant way persons have been addressing the issue of possible sanctions being imposed on our country by the ABC countries and the European Union. Persons are behaving as if we can withstand these sanctions and that they will not cause any hardships on our citizens. I believe that it is important that we edify ourselves on the effects sanctions could have on us.
According to a study by Neuenkirc and Nuemeier (2015) the US and UN economic sanctions had a statistically significant impact on the target country’s economy by reducing GDP growth by more than 2 percent a year. The study also concluded that the negative effects typically lasts for a period of 10 years amounting to an aggregate decline in the target country’s GDP per-capita of 25.5 percent. The study also noted that sanctions are the only measure separating a country from military action being taken against them.
Here is a list of 7 usual effects of economic sanctions on country:
1. Economic sanctions lead to an increase in the poverty gap and depressed sections of the population feel the most impact.
2. Elites manage to negotiate the adverse effect to a greater level than the poorer citizens.
3. Sanctions have a damaging effect on income inequality and impact ordinary people more than the sanctioned country leaders.
4. Sanctioned regimes selfishly attempt to magnify the sanctions negative effect on the economy to prevent the population from revolting.
5. The negative impact that sanctions have on economic growth affect women, minority communities and other marginalized groups to a greater extent.
6. Sanctions have a significant negative impact on the living standards and humanitarian situation of the population in the sanctioned state.
7. Sanctions leads to less aid getting through, which further exacerbate the situation.
That said, there must be an understanding about sanctions imposed against a country and sanctions imposed against offending individuals.
For example, sanctions were imposed on Major General Gabriel AmisiKumba and John Numbi a former senior police officer of the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2019 by the United States. These two were seen as the major contributors to the delaying of elections and the suppression of the opposition. All their and their families’ financial assets in the US were blocked and Americans were banned from engaging in any financial transaction with them.
In 2019 also, officials of the Venezuelan government were also sanctioned by the United States. All assets held in the United States were blocked and were restricted from being transferred, paid, exported, withdrawn or otherwise dealt with. All business transactions with those officials were prohibited. This therefore forced countries and companies to choose between doing business with the US or the Venezuelan s.
After the less than credible elections in Belarus in 2019, the ABC countries along with the European Union imposed sanctions on the following individuals. All the government officials who made up the new government, persons from the Election Centre who seemed to have participated in assisting with the fraudulent elections, and journalists who promoted the government’s fraudulent position. These individuals were banned from travelling to any of the countries that imposed the sanctions, along with restriction from travelling on airlines owned by companies domiciled in any of those countries.
These are just three examples, there are much more that can be used.
These examples, however, highlight that once it is deemed that you in any way played a role in electoral fraud there are consequences and the possibility of individual international sanctions.
Hopefully, this knowledge will give those persons continuing in complicity with the electoral fraud being perpetrated on the Guyanese people some amount of pause.
The fact that there was an attempt to rig the 2020 National and Regional Elections is not up for dispute. What took place last week, occurred in full view of the Guyanese, the European Union, diplomats from the ABC countries and representatives of the Commonwealth, CARICOM and other stakeholders.
That said, it is my sincerest hope that good sense prevails and GECOM completes the process of verifying votes using the Statements of Poll, in accordance with the law, or return to the ballot boxes to conduct a full recount so that the 2020 General and Regional Elections can be deemed credible.